best sloppy joes recipe homemade

Sloppy Joes Recipe

1 hour 30 mins
Vadim Rachok
30.11.2023
31.03.2024
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Recipe Ingredients Video Nutrition
7.5 / 10
Health score
Dairy FreeEgg free dishNut Free DishPaleo Dish

When you’re craving comfort food, nothing beats a classic Sloppy Joe recipe. This crowd-pleaser comes together quickly with ingredients you probably already have on hand, making it a perfect weeknight meal.

Sloppy Joes, the quintessential comfort food, bring a nostalgic and hearty flavor to the table. Born out of creativity in Sioux City, Iowa, this classic sandwich has become a cherished part of American culinary history. The beauty of Sloppy Joes lies in its simplicity—ground beef, onions, and a rich tomato-based sauce, all nestled between soft buns. It's a symphony of textures and tastes that satisfies both young and old palates alike. Quick to make and using pantry staples, Sloppy Joes are the perfect solution for a satisfying weeknight dinner or a laid-back weekend lunch. Let's celebrate the enduring charm of this timeless dish!

What Is a Sloppy Joe?

The Sloppy Joe’s origin is controversial, with several stories claiming its creation. One popular theory attributes its invention to a cook by the name of Joe at a cafe in Sioux City, Iowa, in the early 20th century. According to this story, Joe added tomato sauce to “loose-meat sandwiches” to make them juicier and messier, and the Sloppy Joe was born.

Regardless of its exact origin, the Sloppy Joe has become a beloved comfort food staple in the United States. A Sloppy Joe is a sandwich that consists of ground beef in a tomato sauce and is served on a soft bun. It is known for its salty, slightly sweet, and tangy taste profile.

the best sloppy joes recipe

Sloppy Joes Ingredients

  • Brioche bun: It provides the Sloppy Joe filling with a soft and slightly sweet base.
  • Ground beef: Ground beef forms the hearty and satisfying base of the Sloppy Joe.
  • Onion: It adds savory flavor and texture to the filling.
  • Bell pepper: Bell pepper adds a sweet and slightly tangy taste, as well as a pop of color.
  • Lettuce: It brings freshness and crunch to the finished Sloppy Joe sandwich.
  • Cheddar cheese: It provides richness and a creamy texture when melted over the filling.
  • Garlic: Garlic enhances the savory depth of flavor in the filling.
  • Mustard: It adds heat and depth of flavor to the filling.
  • Smoked paprika: It Adds a smoky and slightly spicy flavor to the filling.
  • Sugar: Sugar balances the acidity of the ketchup and adds a touch of sweetness.
  • Ketchup: It adds a sweet and tangy flavor to the filling.
  • Thyme and Rosemary: These are herbs that add aromatic complexity and savory depth to the filling.
  • Chili pepper: Add a subtle heat and complexity to the filling with chili pepper.

How to Make Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes recipe step by step 1-4

Sloppy Joes recipe step by step 5-8

Sloppy Joes recipe step by step 9

Here is a detailed Sloppy Joes recipe with photos and tips from the chef.

  1. First, dice the onion and bell pepper and slice the chili.
  2. Then, heat a frying pan, add oil, rosemary, and garlic and fry until the herbs and garlic release their essential oils (2 minutes).
  3. Add the onion and sauté until golden (3-4 minutes), then add the bell pepper. Remove the rosemary and garlic.
  4. Add ground beef and cook until golden brown (5-7 minutes).
  5. Add chili, paprika, Worcester sauce, ketchup, salt, pepper, and brown sugar. Then, add 10-14 ounces (300-400 g) of water, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.
  6. Brown the buns in sunflower oil with salt. Brown only the inside.
  7. Next, spread the buns with mustard and place the ground meat on the bottom of the bun. (Average 5,3 ounces (150 g)).
  8. Place two slices of cheddar cheese on top of the ground beef and bake buns in the oven at 356 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 2 minutes, or bake with a blowtorch.
  9. Finally, place the salad on top and cover with the top of the bun. Enjoy!

Chef Recipe Tips:

  • You can add pickled cucumber or fresh tomato for more juiciness.
  • If the meat is not tender enough, simmer for another 30 minutes adding water.

sloppy joes how to cook

Top Tips for Making the Best Sloppy Joe Ever

If you’re thinking about making Sloppy Joes for dinner, there’s no need to use canned sauce. It’s possible that you already have all the necessary ingredients in your pantry. Here are a few tips from a Sloppy Joe expert:

  1. Use lean meat, so you don’t need to drain the fat after cooking it. The rendered fat can be used to sauté onions and bell peppers.
  2. Don’t use expensive buns. Cheaper ones are better because they absorb excess liquid.
  3. Fill the burger bun with a generous amount of meat, making sure that some of it spills out. This way, you can scoop it up with potato chips.

What to Serve With Sloppy Joes

These Sloppy Joe sandwiches are a perfect match for homemade sweet potato fries. They also complement well with a variety of diner-style side dishes such as:

  1. homemade crispy seasoned French fries
  2. mac and cheese
  3. refrigerator dill pickles
  4. restaurant-style house salad
  5. Boston baked beans

sloppy joes easy recipe

Can You Make Sloppy Joes Ahead of Time?

Prepare Sloppy Joe’s in advance by following the recipe, allowing it to cool, and storing it in the fridge for up to 3 days. When ready, reheat and serve on fresh buns.

I like this recipe: it's simple and quite balanced. This burger can be a full-fledged lunch (especially good for those who exercise and maintain muscle mass). And if you can find (or make yourself) a whole-grain burger bun, you'll get even higher-quality complex carbohydrates that will help fuel your body with energy and provide it with beneficial fiber.

Jenny Dobrynina
Jenny Dobrynina
Nutrition Editor
Health score:
7.5 / 10
Sloppy Joes Recipe
Author:Vadim Rachok
These Sloppy Joe sandwiches are a crowd-pleaser and a nostalgic throwback to childhood. This recipe passed down from my mom, always receives compliments.
best sloppy joes recipe homemade
Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
1 hr 10 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 30 mins
Servings:
4
Yield:
4 sandwiches
The ingredients you need
4 pcs brioche buns
18 ounces (500 g) ground beef
1 pc medium onion
1 pc bell pepper
1 bunch lettuce
0,8 ounces (20 g) cheddar cheese
2 cloves garlic
1,4 ounces (40 g) medium hot mustard
0,1 ounces (3 g) smoked paprika
0,8 ounces (20 g) brown sugar
1,8 ounces (50 g) ketchup
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 pc chili pepper
0,4 ounces (10 g) Worcester sauce
salt
pepper
oil for frying
Let’s start !
1

Dice the onion and bell pepper and slice the chili.

2

Heat a frying pan, add oil, rosemary, and garlic and fry until the herbs and garlic release their essential oils (2 minutes).

3

Add the onion and sauté until golden (3-4 minutes), then add the bell pepper. Remove the rosemary and garlic.

4

Add ground beef and cook until golden brown (5-7 minutes).

5

Add chili, paprika, Worcester sauce, ketchup, salt, pepper, and brown sugar. Add 10-14 ounces (300-400 g) of water, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.

6

Brown the buns in sunflower oil with salt. Brown only the inside.

7

Spread the buns with mustard and place the ground meat on the bottom of the bun. (Average 5,3 ounces (150 g)).

8

Place two slices of cheddar cheese on top of the ground beef and bake buns in the oven at 356 degrees F (180 degrees C for 2 minutes, or bake with a blowtorch.

9

Place the salad on top and cover with the top of the bun.

Nutrition Information
Servings Per Recipe: 4 Calories: 1928
% Daily Value *
 % Daily Value *
Total Fat 16g20%
Saturated Fat 6g32%
Cholesterol 57mg19%
Sodium 397mg17%
Total Carbohydrate 11g4%
Dietary Fiber0g1%
Protein 14g 
Vitamin C 10mg51%
Calcium 16mg1%
Iron 2mg9%
Potassium 340mg7%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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Watch How To Make It

For a flavor boost, consider adding a dash of Worcestershire sauce or a spoonful of Dijon mustard to the sauce. These additions introduce depth and complexity to the savory profile of the Sloppy Joes. Also, don't shy away from experimenting with different ground meats. While classic beef is a winner, ground turkey, chicken, or even plant-based alternatives can create exciting variations. When it comes to serving, toast the buns for an extra layer of texture and flavor. And here's a little secret to avoid soggy buns—spread a thin layer of butter or mayonnaise on the inside of the bun before piling on the Sloppy Joe mixture. It creates a barrier, keeping the bun deliciously intact. Enjoy your Sloppy Joes with a side of crispy fries or a tangy slaw for a complete and satisfying meal!

Vadim Rachok
Vadim Rachok
Pro tip from chef
Comments
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